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<w.c.>
posted
This might be an interesting experiment, since we human beings are such addicts, turning anything and everything into a project of self- affirmation. Spirituality gets treated this way too, regardless of our apparent differences.

So the challenge here is to stop doing whatever we do in the name of spirituality for just one week. Quite going to Mass, quite meditating, praying, etc . . . Just quite and see what happens. See if we can stand ourselves without being so damn special.

I know this is blasphemous, such as ceasing to attend Mass. So perhaps cease all else. No prayer, meditation, reading of important books, writing of important essays, etc . . . . And this should probably include a hiatus from Shalom Place! Sorry, Phil.

My guess is that we simply can't do this, and will come up with all sorts of noble, self-affirming explanations for it.

This inability to be ordinary is no testimony to being supernatural, but a clear indication of how frightened we are at any stage of "spiritual growth."

If we're Divine, we'd be able to do this, not needing anything but ourselves for contentment. So if we are Divine, wouldn't we find out in due course by dropping all the activity? Might as well get a rush on death, which will take all this away from us eventually.

Any takers?
 
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"Be still and know God".
 
Posts: 571 | Location: Oregon | Registered: 20 June 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
<w.c.>
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Yes, and on and on and on it goes . . . . . .
 
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Interesting topic, w.c. Drop it all is the essence of spiritual growth. Many times in my spiritual life I have been alone the whole day and night without noticing that so many hours has passed. It is then I experience silence is really the language of God. During those moments I was naked alone with God and I felt indescribable peace.
 
Posts: 340 | Location: Sweden | Registered: 14 May 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
<w.c.>
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Grace:

I guess the problem here is that human beings cannot let go permanently. Only God can release us from our fallen, habitual tendency to want approval, control and security.

So what I'm suggesting is to occasionally just stop the physical activities that occasion our mental contraptions. Other mental contraptions will no doubt take their place, but at least we can then see our own nonsense and desperation.

We all like to think that we're not doing this - not hanging on like addicts, since our favorite little set of experiences is a claim to specialness and immunity.
 
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Noticing my desire and claim to specialness then becomes another opportunity for claim of specialness and pride... just from the the fact that I see this. Smiler As you say, on and on it goes.

Only God can release us from our fallen, habitual tendency to want approval, control and security.

quote:
O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
 
Posts: 77 | Location: South Carolina | Registered: 18 July 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
<w.c.>
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Sometimes there are moments where life wears us down to the bone and none of our contraptions work. This can be temporarily freeing, even though it may bring us close to despair.

There is some smaller room in human consciousness for letting go, but it is momentary and never permanent; hence the plight of gurus as they are exposed for false pretenses. We all know a fake when we see one, including ourselves, although this does little to slow us down in needing to live in the protective trance state.

I was in the middle of some pretty serious drama recently, that is in fact rooted in slowly developing physical illness and lack of family support; these conditions do activate the need for approval, control and survival. Nothing wrong with those needs or wants, but we are addicted to their maintainence regardless of how spiritually compelling we think we are.

But I've been able to ask

"Could I let go of the drama for just a few seconds?


And, I can. But only momentarily. Nevertheless, there is a brief respite showing a limited capacity to let go of most anything that arises primarily from an internal dialogue-driven mental crisis. Just being able to let go in a small way at least shows how easily glued we become to anything that even remotely seems to threaten approval, control and survival.

So can we momentarily let go of the "positive" stuff, if only briefly? The stuff we like is often drama as well.
 
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<w.c.>
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I've described this before under the thread the "Sedona Method."

The easiest explanation I've heard for this process is like having something of value in the palm of one's hand. The longer we clench it, the more numb we become to both it and the fact that our hand is capable of more than a fist. What we're holding tightly can be even be a relationship.

And so the process of letting go is only for a few seconds, not for all time. It's like de-clenching the hand, not to drop what we're holding, but simply to give it some room to roll around. We can't hold this space open, but only answer the question as it evokes simple wonder over mere possibility in the mind:

"Could I let go of this for just a few seconds?"

or even


"Could I hold onto this even tighter?"


Our souls predispose us to letting go, as our bodies are dying all the time. But in our fallenness we cannot completely let go under our own power. I've been around the New Age groups that pretend to omnipotence re: the potential of letting go, and you never see enlightened people among that bunch. Most fall away when the process can't procure permanent or grandiose results.
 
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I guess the problem here is that human beings cannot let go permanently. Only God can release us from our fallen, habitual tendency to want approval, control and security.

w.c, I don't exactly understand by what you mean �human beings can not let go permanently�. We all start our spiritual journey from the periphery where mind is active and go gradually into the depth of our essence. Until we reach the depth of our essence letting go everything is important if not crucial. But it is not something we produce by our effort. It is something unfolds automatically. Once we are in tune with the rhythm of God our creators' hand become active. Up to some point we were the lord of our activity but when God takeover the process we loose all our power to him, to the lord of the lord. Suddenly we become an observer of Almighty�s work in us. In this new life the soul become totally still and astonished by the miracle of God. At this level it is possible to drop it all for many hours, weeks and months. Drop it all is the by product of our growth in Christ not something we cultivate. Drop it all leads us to the Dark night of the spirit where the soul stripped off all her earthly addiction inorder to gaze purely into the face of God. Once the soul have been purified and successfully united with her creator she doesn't need more contemplatives gaze. At this level the love of Christ in the heart of the mystic wants to manifest in the material world. The soul again begins to engage actively in the world now totally purified by the fire of God she works effectively to spread the unconditional love of God into the world. At this level the soul is a pure vessel of Christ. Our contemporary Mother Teresa is a good example
 
Posts: 340 | Location: Sweden | Registered: 14 May 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Oh I think we cross-posted, w.c. I saw your post after I post mine.
 
Posts: 340 | Location: Sweden | Registered: 14 May 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
<w.c.>
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Grace:

I understand what you're saying, but actually don't believe there are many human beings on the planet, or any at all, that have passed all the way through the Dark Night of the Spirit. Much of the claim to that degree of purity probably awaits us in death, or when death takes from us such degree of control that we currently cling to on subtle levels. And I've been around some folks who would probably have been considered saints (just two or three), but even these people were still struggling in ways; they could certainly let go more easily, but not with any real permanence.

I've been free of attachments for hours at a time, and once or twice for more than a day. But this really isn't even the point, as you allude to. The real value in being able to let go for even seconds or minutes is to allow relationship with the intimate other, both God and neighbor.

I guess the proof that we cannot let go permanently is in how death always leads us further into a degree of letting go we can't procure while actively living. Even people who die quite peacefully - and I've seen quite a few - have something to let go of that only grace can soften and release.

As for Mother Teresa of Calcutta, she described in places her continual struggle to let go even in her last months and years. And I've met one person who met her and knew others close to her, and while she was quite a compassionate person, it doesn't sound like she was completely pure or free as you're implying.

The notion of completely letting go seems to come from an eastern enligthenment model which from a Christian pov is simply impossible.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by w.c.:
[qb] So the challenge here is to stop doing whatever we do in the name of spirituality for just one week. Quite going to Mass, quite meditating, praying, etc . . . Just quite and see what happens. See if we can stand ourselves without being so damn special. [/qb]
And do what instead? Overeat, drink more alcohol, watch more TV?
 
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<w.c.>
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Chop wood, carry water while eating pastries . . . . yeah, something like that. I think you've already got the swing of it, Ryan.
 
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"I guess the proof that we cannot let go permanently is in how death always leads us further into a degree of letting go we can't procure while actively living. Even people who die quite peacefully - and I've seen quite a few - have something to let go of that only grace can soften and release."

This is very close to what I saw in my father, w.c. Slowly, with a little struggle at times, but ultimately peacefully and with God's grace, he quite simply let go - of work, ministry, attachment to family etc etc. From the beginning of the illness we were aware of a purification process which was gentle, gracious and thankfully not too prolonged, and which led, in the end, to a wonderfully peaceful passing.

At times there were elements of humour, watching as my dad's personal habits and quirks were brought to light and slowly dropped.

I do like what Grace says however. The process of dying is one that begins when we meet Christ, when we face our death at Calvary, when we become crucified with Him and are raised up into new life. All those attachments should be dropping off so that we no longer live I but Christ lives in us, and all things are counted loss for the knowledge of the Son of God. You're absolutely right however to say that not many of us allow God's grace to fully work this out during our life time.
 
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<w.c.>
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Stephen:

It really is amazing to watch the grace descend/envelop/fill a dying person, but much more so for you and your family as you cared for your dad. Amazing and holy indeed. Thanks for giving us this encouragement, as sad and beautiful as it is.

I agree with Grace, mostly. But such a big part of spiritual growth for me has been the regret that I really don't completely surrender to God. As I talk with a spiritual director, he says this grief is present even with the saints.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by w.c.:
[qb] Chop wood, carry water while eating pastries . . . . yeah, something like that. [/qb]
That was a couple of weeks ago. Since then, I have cut out the pastries (lots of free ones are available in the bakery) at least during work hours, as the sugar seems to reduce my already limited ability to hold a number in my head when I'm scaling.
Smiler
 
Posts: 455 | Location: Baltimore | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
<w.c.>
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Glad you were able to adapt. Wink
 
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w.c, I think we have to be clear by what you mean drop it all. I discuss the terminology in the following context. According to my understanding drop it all is synonymous with letting go, surrender or not been attached both spiritually and worldly. If we agree up to this point the next question will be is it possible to drop it all permanently? I would say it is possible for the following reason. Even though there are very few people who has been through the Dark Night and successfully realized the unification of soul and God, this by itself proves drop it all is possible because the core purpose of Dark Night is to drop it all. Without erasing our attachment, without surrender fully it is impossible to reach the level of unification. However, as long as we live in our physical body we are governed by the law of physicality. This means we can never be 100% pure as long as we live on earth. The implication is it is possible to drop it all permanently but to be totally pure is not possible. The two are different things. For me drop it all is a necessary condition in order to finish the night of spirit successfully. After dark night we are mostly pure but not 100%. It is in this context that I mention the example of Mother Teresa.
 
Posts: 340 | Location: Sweden | Registered: 14 May 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
<w.c.>
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Grace:

It would be hard to imagine the distinction you're making as really substantial without serious, prolonged spiritual direction, or within a married relationship where a spouse knows us beyond or tendency to conceit.

Having said that, I hope it is true for you - that God will take you this far, and you will open to all He may do in your soul. But I think there are great dangers that can easily be missed as long as our spiritual path is private and not under the care and scrutiny of somebody further along than ourselves.

I guess I'd rather be on the immature side of transforming union (And I live quite in the middle of that less than blissful country, to be sure!) and aware of my false self tendencies than to have delusionally appropriated a degree of "spiritual stature" that is obscured in me as grandiosity of some unrecognized sort.
 
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It is good that you link the issue of spiritual director to this topic. I fully agree that the necessary of human spiritual director is indispensable. I think you overlook or forget our real spiritual director within us. I have seen in my spiritual life how I was led by the presence of Holy Spirt, Christ, Maria and angels. You may ask how I know that I was guided by Christ without scrutinized by human spiritual director. The best gift I have got from God is the gift of spirit discernment. Without it I couldn�t survive a second. The guidance I have got is not verbal/mental it is purely spiritual. Therefore it can be difficult to understand and express the experience through human mind. This is why human spiritual director is important. The problem is to find appropriate spiritual director who has a deep knowledge of mystical life and preferably has his/her own Dark night experience. This problem has been rampant during the time of John of the Cross and still is problem in our time. I�m talking about the necessary of spiritual director in the context of Dark Night. The experience of Dark Night can�t easily understand by ordinary human beings including spouse. In fact the person can appear for them sick. Nobody can understand the person in the process of Dark Night except by another experienced person. I don�t underestimate the importance of relationship in spiritual life but in the context of Dark Night relationship has very little role. In my experience through spirit discernment I�m guided how I nurture my spiritual life. From the outset I have been aware of this inner guidance but the mind doesn�t understand fully what is going on inside. For this reason I searched for appropriate spiritual director but I couldn�t find one. Here once again I want to mention our Phil has been a great help at the beginning of my spiritual life.

I guess I'd rather be on the immature side of transforming union (And I live quite in the middle of that less than blissful country, to be sure!) and aware of my false self tendencies than to have delusionally appropriated a degree of "spiritual stature" that is obscured in me as grandiosity of some unrecognized sort.

w.c if you want to stay at the immature side of transformation it is your choice. It must be acknowledged the journey of Dark Night is mostly a journey of lonely but it is not a journey of delusion. As my own experience shows Jesus will intervene directly to bring the soul to unification if intervention is what it takes. The person in the process of Dark Night is definitely protected and guided by higher spiritual beings including Christ. As John of the Cross put it correctly there is no way they intend to lose us to the devil.
 
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<w.c.>
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Grace:

Like I said: hopefully God is leading you in this way, but the dangers of going it mainly alone, as you describe, are not to be discounted. Your post basically says, to me, that you trust your own lights, and if this results in increasing virtue in relationship with others, then perhaps you are safely navigating that darkness.

But I know others who have found good, sound spiritual direction, and a few who seem to be in the midst of the Dark Night of the Spirit. So it's probably not nearly as difficult to find this guidance as it was in St. John of the Cross' day, given how much more access we have to such a larger number of prospective guides. So while some people may refuse spiritual direction for fear of being mis-understood, it is just as likely, perhaps more so, that we could simply be protecting an addiction to consolations.

As for myself, it is really not so much a choice about how far into purification I'm drawn by God. It's pretty much His choice, along with my own consent, but the latter doesn't necessarily lead to a truly non-delusional path, especially where the false self may be doing its own version of the consenting (which is where intimate relationship with others is the ultimate discernment). I'd rather go along with the company of good spiritual direction, in a Christian community of clay-footed peers, and leave the rest to Him. My concern is that so much of unrecognized childhood developmental need can get distorted into a sense of entitlement, or spiritual gluttony and pride, where without spiritual direction these can become much worse than just keeping to the slower pace that most of us are given.
 
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w.c, I understand your concern. As I mentioned above human spiritual director is necessary. The problem is again to find good spiritual director. This has been problem for many of Christian mystics including our contemporaries. Our days flowing of information have no parallel in human history. For sure it has its advantage but this doesn�t mean it is easier to find spiritual director today than five centuries ago. To find spiritual director who knows well the mystic life and have own experience is as problematic as in the time of John of the Cross. I�m not speculating here. My and others experience shows this problem is still unresolved.

When it comes to my experience yes I�m following the guidance of inner light. I wish I could find good spiritual director who can compliment the process. Since my first spiritual experience in 1998 I was following the light I saw within me. At that time I didn�t know about the spiritual world. I was embarking the path with all path lead to the same God principle. From human perspective it was very dangerious path but I was led and guided by higher spiritual beings to follow strictly the path of Christ. First they were guided me through dreams and visions and lastly Christ himself intervene and showed me clearly that he is the only way. Since then the Spirit led me to Church and I found the presence of Christ lively in Eucharist. I saw Christ in many symbols of Christianity. The Mass, songs and community really nourishes my soul. However, the real purification is processed when I�m alone. Solitude life is an important part of this process. Christ showed us by retreating in 40 days and nights, all Christian mystics following Christ�s path emphasise the importance of being alone not only for a few days but for an extended periods. Those have been the way of Christ, Paul and the desert fathers. Nevertheless, it is important to point out that the seclusion life of apophatic has to accompany the kataphatic life. The two must be balanced in order to have healthy spiritual life.

To not be diverted from our topic I must again reiterate that drop it all is not only possible but it is conditional to enter in to the night of spirit. We must be willing to surrender every part of our suppressed/repressed emotions, attachments etc and then God leads us to spirit night. Once we are there God amazingly transmute all our negativity, buried in the deepest part of our soul, into light. What he need from us is only trust the rest of the job is done by him. It is really amazing Grace at work.
 
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QUOTE]Originally posted by w.c.:
[QB] This might be an interesting experiment, since we human beings are such addicts, turning anything and everything into a project of self- affirmation. Spirituality gets treated this way too, regardless of our apparent differences. So the challenge here is to stop doing whatever we do in the name of spirituality for just one week... See if we can stand ourselves without being so damn special."
_____________________________________________

Hello, w.c. and all
I certainly see myself in your statement! I had to laugh, as I returned to ShalomPlace with hands practically shaking on the keyboard, after a week away from the internet... yes, I think I may be addicted. Smiler I have also been wondering lately if I'm getting addicted to spiritual direction. It's so much fun to talk about my spiritual journey! As to the various consolations that the Holy Spirit sends, well, who wouldn't want more, more, MORE!?

But (and maybe this is a rationalization) it seems to me that trying to self-consciously drop all spiritual practice would just be another thing for my ego to do. ("Look at me, I'm not praying!") Isn't there a difference between "giving it up" and just letting go? I keep trying to learn how to hold everything more lightly, including this journey and the whole kundalini thing, and to just pay attention to what's happening without trying to direct the process...which is what "dropping it all" would surely become for me.
_____________________________________________
You say, "This inability to be ordinary is no testimony to being supernatural, but a clear indication of how frightened we are at any stage of "spiritual growth."
_______________________________________________

Yes! You've spoken before about some of your early childhood trauma in relation to your spiritual life. I wonder if those of us who share that kind of history have a greater than usual need to be "special". I think I do. A book I have appreciated is "The spiritual advantages of a painful childhood" (Sorry I don't remember the author at the moment)The first chapter is about finding the courage to be ordinary.

But then I wonder yet again, why in creation did God give me this not-so-ordinary gift of kundalini energy? And do we get addicted to that, too? I know that I keep worrying that it will disappear. In any case, it's not something I can drop, is it? If nothing else, it serves to keep me more or less constantly confused!
 
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<w.c.>
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Grace:

That sounds really good to me. Hopefully you'll be able to find a spiritual director in human form, even if over the telephone. Phil is connected to a number of people through the Heartland Center. Thanks for your post, and I hope all continues for you as God leads and directs.

I'm beginning to have more trust in God re: the really deep and painful distortions of the false self, and hopefully this will allow me more interior room for His working beyond my understanding. The passions are entangled with much loneliness related to childhood development, and so the active and passive Purgative stages are still very much the case with me, although Illuminative consolations are not uncommon; however, when one is graced in prayer with the love of the Holy Spirit, these pockets of loneliness are lanced, or broken open within their longing, and the distortions become rather tender (sometimes appearing days later), with the next step being to trust God further, which is what is happening now.

Recently there is the awareness that these pains are partial expressions of prayer themselves, and I can allow them to further form themselves into prayer so that there is no need to repress, or fear them nearly as much. But I'm early on in this awareness, which just recently was shown to me in prayer. The kundalini has been active for almost 15 years, but the early developmental aspects always seemed a primary matter of healing through human therapeutic contact. So as I've now found a therapist who really knows how to engage the intimate present moment, there is also a new trust in God to re-fashion these wounded places.
 
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<w.c.>
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"But (and maybe this is a rationalization) it seems to me that trying to self-consciously drop all spiritual practice would just be another thing for my ego to do. ("Look at me, I'm not praying!")"


Revkah:

Oh, yes!! We are blessed fools indeed. But there is something of real value, I think, in having this humor for ourselves, perhaps somewhat like the tenderness and cherished feeling we'd hope parents would have for their growing children.

So we just keep on doing what we do, and realness and falseness get exposed as we go along. Staying close to other people would seem crucial so that both of these authentic risks are supported. Being able to let a trusted friend, lover or therapist or spiritual director "in" cannot be contrived.

During the therapy I'm going through the talking comes and goes, but there are extended periods when he and I slow down, and he stays with me as I more deliberately let him in, and then the resistance and pain to this becomes the focus, which allows authentic, spontaneous expressions of the real self to live further. This much just can't be faked, but at the same time there seem to be layers of realness, with moments of stark realness where the other is seen as just himself open to me. There is "dropping" in this, but not as a technique or contrivance to get a result; rather, as simply being open to a real relationship, yet in a slowed-down way over minutes or longer.

So it seems that everything we get addicted to is just an expression of our fear of relationship and the level of yearning which hasn't yet been safe to feel fully. Part of the blindness of addiction is wanting something to fix us, rather than allowing relationships the chance to infiltrate the false self and painufully undo its tenacity. This is the level of the ordinary where the real stuff goes on. It seems we can't give that to ourselves regardless of how much kundalini has been aroused out of these relentless longings, so it takes an intimate "other" to journey with us so we can feel seeable and known within those hurt places without having to be special to compensate.
 
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